Pirates come out firing, sweep Mountaineers to clinch state bid


ADNA — After Adna topped Toledo on Saturday to advance to the district semifinals, coach Wendie Dotson said that moving forward, the team would need to come out with more energy, especially when facing some of the top teams in the district.

On Saturday in that semifinal against Rainier, the Pirates came out of the gate firing, storming out to a big lead and never looking back in a sweep of the Mountaineers, winning 25-15, 25-15, 25-23.

“That was our goal, was to not be relaxed,” Dotson said. “I thought we did that. And that’s a team that you have to have energy against. Because every time you don’t, it’s a point for them.”

On the other side, Rainier coach Carrie Ooms felt the Mountaineers (14-5, 7-2 C2BL) came out more sluggish than they would have liked, which only helped the Pirates (17-0, 9-0 C2BL) pile on early.

“Adna’s a strong team, and sometimes it takes us a little bit longer to warm up,” Ooms said. “And with a team like Adna, you can’t wait. One thing we really struggled with tonight was really finding our footing and getting ready to compete.”

With the win, the Pirates clinched their spot at the state tournament and advanced to the district championship game for the first time since 2014. They’ll take on Toutle Lake, which defeated Napavine in four sets in the other semifinal, on Saturday.

C2BL MVP Kendall Humphrey, Danika Hallom and Karsyn Freeman were a three-headed monster offensively for the Pirates on Wednesday, combining for 35 kills.

The offense was sparked by strong defensive play, however, as several Pirates were sprawling all over the floor to keep the ball in play throughout. They weren’t just hitting the ball sporadically, either, as the first touch was under enough control to allow the Pirates to play in system.

As a result, they were able to mix up their offensive approach, specifically how Gaby Guard and Charissa Schierman got the ball to their trio of hitters.

“Working on different combinations to get set to our hitters, they’ve been working really hard to be successful on that,” Dotson said. “We’ve been working on that, and it paid off tonight. And it helps when you’re on.

“We have weapons … As long as we can set the offense up and play in system, we can be really good.”

Guard tallied 20 assists while Schierman had 15. Guard also added nine digs and a kill of her own, while Schierman had five digs.

In addition to her 11 kills, Hallom led the team with 12 digs. Humphrey had 11 kills and a pair of digs, blocks and aces. Freeman had a team-high 13 kills while also digging six balls and delivering three aces.

While the Mountaineers have now slid down to the lower bracket, they will still have two chances to clinch a state tournament bid.

On Saturday at 10 a.m. at Adna, they'll take on Kalama, with the winner clinching a spot at state and advancing to the third-place game at 2:30 p.m.. The loser will play in the fifth-place game at 1 p.m., which is a winner-to-state game.

“Hopefully we’ll get the win we need to get to state,” Ooms said.

The Pirates will take on the Toutle Lake Ducks in the district championship game at 4 p.m. at Adna.